Like nearly every other automaker these days, Hyundai is keenly focused on bringing fuel-efficient vehicles to market. That apparently means the automaker doesn't currently see a need for a halo sportscar to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette, though it recognizes it would be an exciting addition to the lineup. Hyundai's North American CEO, John Krafcik tells Ward's Auto that even though such a model would would be a fun addition to the family, a range-topping sports car would also probably be a poor investment that wouldn't serve the brand properly.
Krafcik is clearly focused on building more fuel efficient machines, and he argues that vehicles like the new Veloster coupe can provide sort of reverse halo from the bottom-up, not unlike the way the CTS has been the star of the Cadillac lineup for some time. This strategy seems like a smart move ahead of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements waiting just a few years down the road.

Every automaker has a reason to be concerned about CAFE, but as Krafcik points out in an interview with Ward's Auto, loopholes exist in the legal requirements that may allow car companies to switch up their product strategy without aggressively pursuing more fuel-efficient products. Larger vehicles are subject to less strict requirements, and Krafcik argues that some smaller vehicles will likely fall by the wayside as an unintended consequence. This sort of thinking could allow a few manufacturers to skirt around the more strict CAFE requirements. An example of this is the decline of the compact pickup truck, which has given way to the less-restricted full-size.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      space
      • 3 Years Ago
      CAFE shouldn't exist if you ask me. Too much regulation. I understand the purpose but I don't like the effect it's having on the industry.
        Afi Keita James
        • 3 Years Ago
        @space
        Eliminate CAFE, it's unconstitutional.
        Matthew Sharp
        • 3 Years Ago
        @space
        Given how much oil is imported from abroad and from my home province (Alberta, Canada), I think CAFE is a good thing. If cars switch over to natural gas, you will like CAFE, too, as if will prevent you from having to fill up every 200 kms.
      mylz
      • 3 Years Ago
      thats only because hyundai cannot produce a sports car. overall their ccars are still overrated junk. and what i dont get is everybody goes oh the big 3 were producing junk. and yet most people forget hyundais were junk all the way up til like 2years ago. and they still have a long way to go. people are only buying them because they are cheap and americans are stupid and will always go for the cheap crap. and add all the people who want to think they are rich they flock to these things because they look exspensive but in reality to a car lover they do not look exspensive at all. its just pathetic how fickle people are
        Matthew Sharp
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mylz
        Hyundai is an international engineering firm. They build a large percentage of the world's ships. They do all manner of chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering. They are part of what is known as a "Chaebol" in Korea, or supercompany. Their 2010 revenue was 177 billion dollars. If they wanted to build a sports car, they could. Easily. Better than you, I'd bet.
      kontroll
      • 3 Years Ago
      how does this moron CEO contemplate on even remotely come ouit with an ICON like the Corvette?! The arrogance of these asians has no boundries!
        Matthew Sharp
        • 3 Years Ago
        @kontroll
        Your comment is absurd and ridiculous. Hyundai's growth and quality increase over the last 10 years has been nothing less than meteoric. Having spent considerable time in South Korea, I can tell you that the only reason Hyundai does not have an Icon is because until 1985 it was one of the poorest countries on earth. "The Miracle on the Han River" catapaulted Korea from sub-saharan Africa levels of poverty to the G20 in 40 years. They have some of the best engineers on the planet working for Samsung, Hyundai, LG, and Daewoo (which, since its acquisition by GM, has done a lot of engineering for Chevrolet. Not on the Corvette, but still). 10 years ago, no one would have expected the Sonata to be one of the best cars in its class. Cars are a product, they become icons by the owners. Just because Hyundai was building Japanese cars on license 30+ years ago, does not mean they cannot create a modern-day icon. Your arrogance knows no bounds. Quit embarrassing yourself.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @kontroll
        [blocked]
      harbour
      • 3 Years Ago
      What do these two brands do for the US economy and jobs?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harbour
        [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      dondonel
      • 3 Years Ago
      CAFE loopholes have been there for ages. All cars should have the same fuel consumption requirements, including trucks. The only exception should be the vehicles used by businesses for hauling stuff. Trucks are not for soccer moms or redneck posers.
        WillieD
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dondonel
        "All cars should have the same fuel consumption requirements, including trucks." How does that make any sense?
      DashRipRock
      • 3 Years Ago
      Perhaps a high end sports car would be a poor investment, but how do you explain the Equus? Hyundai could actually eliminate two of its sedans and the resulting overlap, without customers even noticing. The Azera and Equus either overlap existing products too much or have no appreciable market to justify their development costs. I'd happily trade those for something in the line of an Acura NSX type coupe. ...and please, no 3rd door, unless we're referring to a hatch. The sales of such a high end sporty coupe would blow away those of the Equus. As for the Veloster, you may get an initial burst of sales. But your unwillingness to simply offer a lower end two door coupe or three door hatch, without the funky rear door or bizarre styling or rear seat accommodations, shows you can't quite let go of the 4 door/sedan obsession plaguing most manufacturers. I guarantee you, the upcoming two door Elantra will outsell the Veloster 10 to 1. In fact, it will outsell the Genesis coupe 10 to 1. The second generation Tiburon coupe was a beautiful car until you saw fit to bizarrely remove the hatch! The one great thing that set that car apart from the various other cars in the segment. And then you let the drivetrain fester and never made an effort to update the motor or transmission. In summary, you are seriously missing both a low end and high end two door coupe/hatch in your lineup.
        gnvlscdt23f
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DashRipRock
        The development costs of both the Azera and Equus are incremental as both have large markets in other countries (and the costs of the Azera are split with the Kia VG platform).
        Matthew Sharp
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DashRipRock
        When I was in Korea, it was impossible to throw a stone without hitting an Equus. The Azera should get an AWD 4-cylinder turbo refresh for snowy markets, and the Equus can remain for those in the sunbelt states (and Vancouver!)
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Matthew Sharp
        • 3 Years Ago
        Maybe in 30 years we'll be buying North Korean cars. All the grilles will look like Kim Jong Il's profile.......
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Matthew Sharp
          [blocked]
      Compliance
      • 3 Years Ago
      Of course there are loopholes. They were placed there because GM, Ford, and Chrysler are the most well equipped to exploit them.
        Matthew Sharp
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Compliance
        Well, I imagine Toyota and Nissan will slide the Tundra and Titan in there, respectively, just as happily ;)
      jonwil2002
      • 3 Years Ago
      The #1 problem with CAFE is that a MASSIVE truck like a Chevrolet Silverado would contribute LESS to GMs CAFE numbers than a hypothetical Holden UTE based Chevrolet El Camino even though the UTE would be FAR more fuel efficient than the Silverado. (especially if the UTE was fitted with an ecoboost style turbocharged engine)
      kevsflanagan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hate to admit it but the man has a point. Hyundai in the last few years has been doing a great job of creating a in house stepping stone system for their cars. While yes a Halo Sports Car would be nice they already have a set of cars that attract people into the show room. The Geni-Coupe, the Genisis, and the Equus. To me those are their 3 halo cars that their buyers should wish to aspire to own one day once they enter the Hyundai family. Now if we could only convince them to cram their Tau V8 into the Geni-Coupe I think we'd all be happy and say Hyundai is complete. hehe
      Yegor
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nobody else sees giant loopholes? Because of the current "light truck" loophole market share of light trucks grew from 10% in 70s to 50% right now and instead of intended 27.5 mpg we reached only 23 mpg. Because of the CAFE test instead of real world EPA test real world average economy was even worse than 23 mpg - only 17 mpg. Now on top of it they added a "footprint" loophole - and large trucks have even lesser requirements - now their market share is going to grow even more. Even now Ford F-150 V6 costs less than Ford Escape V6 - this totally wrong and ridiculous! And it is going to get worse. At least one person - Hyundai CEO is talking about - thank you!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Yegor
        [blocked]
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